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A NEW range of face masks, snoods and lanyards with the new ‘Please give me space’ emblem are helping people who struggle to social distance.

The products have been created by Hidden Disabilities, the company behind the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme, in collaboration with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the Cabinet Office.

Research by RNIB found that nearly three quarters of disabled people felt that it is difficult to social distance, and a small number even reported being confronted by other members of the public for being unable to keep a distance.

The majority felt that a social distance indicator was a good idea and that it would help others understand that they needed space and provide them with more confidence when in public areas.

Marc Powell, at RNIB, said: “Social distancing has completely turned the world upside down for blind and partially sighted people. In fact, two thirds of people with vision impairment told us in a survey that they felt less independent since lockdown started back in March. This is largely due to challenges and anxieties around social distancing.

“For those who want to use it, the ‘Please give me space’ products will provide an option to indicate to passers-by that social distancing is either difficult or particularly important. In turn, this will help improve our confidence and allow us to participate in daily life, such as shopping and exercise, in the same way as everyone else.”

The ‘Please give me space’ emblem has been designed inclusively for any person who feels anxious about social distancing, by giving them a way to signal to others that they need to be given space.

Businesses are also making the symbol more recognisable by joining the initiative and spreading awareness through staff training and customer awareness.

About Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme

Wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower discreetly indicates to people that the wearer (or someone with them) may need additional support, help or a little more time. Since its launch in 2016, it has been adopted globally by major airports and venues and in the UK, by many supermarkets, railway and coach stations, leisure facilities, the NHS, a number of police, fire and ambulance services, and an increasing number of small and large businesses and organisations.

RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999